Poignant candlelight vigil in Esquimalt to honour veterans

God's Acre Veterans' Cemetery will play host to evening service

More than a few tears will likely be shed Thursday (May 31) when 3,500 candles glow as night settles over a 144-year-old military veterans ceremony.

The annual vigil takes place at God’s Acre Veterans’ Cemetery in Esquimalt to honour military members who have served their country.

The public tribute, co-hosted by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Esquimalt Dockyard Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, will happen in and amongst the 2,500 monuments and 25 interment markers of air force, navy and army service personnel who have passed on.

During the 45-minute ceremony, past and present military members will pass their candles to the next generation – Cadets, Girl Guides and Scouts – who will then place the glowing wax columns on the gravestones.

“Every grave has at least one (candle). The kids make sure of that,” organizer Bob Haldane said.

“It’s paying respect to our fallen comrades, and that’s really important – to let young people know what the veterans went through.”

CFB Esquimalt’s Naden Band and the Victoria Children’s Choir will perform, and refreshments will be provided.

This year the memorial will also pay special homage to Esquimalt’s centenary.

The tribute happens at 6:45 p.m. on May 31 at the cemetery, located off Colville Road behind the Department of National Defence baseball diamonds. Parking is limited.

For details, please call the Esquimalt Dockyard Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion at 250-386-7635.

emccracken@vicnews.com